Now that Bosch has premiered on Amazon, you can watch the entire first season of the series. But when I interviewed Titus Welliver after Amazon’s Television Critics Association panels, I had only seen the pilot. After Amazon’s pilot season, Bosch was chosen to go to series.
Based on the Michael Connelly books, Welliver plays Harry Bosch, a grizzled detective solving a homicide and also on trial for the shooting death of a suspected serial killer. It is a combination of the books City of Bones and The Concrete Blonde.
Have you gotten to explore any parts of L.A. that you wouldn’t normally visit living here?
Titus Welliver: “Not really because I’ve lived here off and on for so many years. I had friends who lived in Boyle Heights and I’ve lived in Los Feliz, Silverlake and Hollywood so I’ve been all around.”
Do these lines come straight from the book: “On a day like this, who wouldn’t want to live?” “Humor us and check out the humerus.”
Titus Welliver: “The humerus is. I’m not sure if ‘on a day like this who wouldn’t want to live’ is. I don’t remember. That would be from City of Bones and I don’t recall that line.”
Do you find a lot of lines from the book end up in the script?
Titus Welliver: “Yeah, there’s definitely stuff in there. Michael writes really, really good dialogue. That banter that he has stays in there for a reason because it’s good.”
Was the scene in the rain very intense to do because it’s such a pivotal establishing moment for Bosch?
Titus Welliver: “That physically was one of the most unpleasant things to shoot in memory. First of all, it was in December. We had several rain machines that were going. I had a wetsuit on underneath but you get drenched, totally soaked through. We had heat lamps but at a certain point, I think the sun was coming up at around five in the morning. By three in the morning, I was starting to get hypothermic and it was really difficult because we’re doing medium shots, closeup shots where I’m holding the weapon, but I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. But it sure does look cool, doesn’t it? It is worth it and also if there was just one version of that, it would’ve been a much shorter evening. Because we have to shoot Money Chandler’s version of the story, then we shoot Jerry Edgar’s version of the story and then we shoot Bosch’s version of the story. You have all those different perspectives of that.”
I’m always fascinated by the actors who play the dead bodies. With the actor who played the body in the car, would you coordinate a lot with her in between takes? “This is when I’m going to lift your head up…”
Titus Welliver: “No, not really. First of all, she had the sun beaming in her face and the inside of that car, it was a very hot day. So she was getting microwaved in the car. And to try to keep your eyes open for a sustained period of time, she had a really, really tough job. The other thing is that at a certain point, hours after one dies, there’s a certain amount of lividity that happens so sometimes you’re having to loosen the joints by kind of breaking them apart. All that I said to her is, ‘I won’t drop your head on the steering wheel. Don’t worry about it.’ So that was the extent of that dialogue. That scene also played out a little bit longer originally. There was more of Harry assessing the crime scene. But I think they did a great job of editing it because it’s more succinct and it also speaks to how Harry can read a scene and go, ‘Yeah, suicide.’ It was a hard day for her but she was a trooper. It’s no fun.”
Will readers expect the same outcome of the trial from The Concrete Blonde or could it go in different directions since it’s merged with City of Bones?
Titus Welliver: “No, no, I think the outcome of it, to my knowledge, would remain the same. It’s just an interesting way of telling it the same way it’s told in the book. J. Edgar is not completely 100% sure. Nobody’s really 100% sure even though Bosch was exonerated as it being a righteous shooting by the department. It’s unclear. It’s unclear if he did it just because he wanted to kill this guy and didn’t have enough evidence to just arrest him. So did he just take the position of he’s doing society a service? The guy’s a serial rapist and a murderer. He doesn’t really belong in society so let’s save the tax payers money and time by just getting rid of this guy. Or, did Flores actually have a gun? Did he go for a weapon? A lot of different versions of it. It’s that Rashomon sort of thing.”
Does Bosch have his own code?
Titus Welliver: “Yeah, I think because of his military background, it’s an interesting sort of journey for him having come from being in two wars where your job is there’s people trying to kill you and you kill them before they can kill you. Now he’s back in society and ultimately if there’s someone doing wrong, it’s sort of the same combat scenario. But now you have these rules of engagement. LAPD has a very clear shoot/don’t shoot policy. How do you do that when he’s a special forces operator, so he’s totally trained to take them out.”
Have there been a few significant turning points for you in your career? Was Lost one, and Gone Baby Gone another, and even Deadwood?
Titus Welliver: “They’re all kind of different and they have merit on their own. Deadwood came at a period, David Milch called me up and I was really disenchanted with the business. I was feeling bored and restless and thinking this isn’t so interesting anymore. David called me up and said, ‘I’m writing something. Are you interested in coming back to L.A. to do this show?’ So I got on a plane, flew out and sat with David in his office for a couple of hours. He told me what the character was so I jumped in and it ended up being great.
Lost was another thing. Elizabeth Sarnoff had been one of the writers on Big Apple which is another show I’d done with David Milch, and on Deadwood. She called me up and said, ‘I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Lost.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve watched the first season but I’m kind of behind.’ She said, ‘I have a great character for you but I can’t really tell you what it is unless you say you’ll do it because of the secretive nature of the show.’ Because I was close friends with her and knew that she was a great writer worth her word, I signed on to do that completely blindly, and was greatly rewarded even though if you think about it in terms of actual episodes that I did it was only four. But that character in the mythology of Lost is from the first pilot episode all the way through to the end, the smoke monster. Ignorance was bliss. They would try to tell me things about the character and I would say, ‘I don’t want to know.’
Gone Baby Gone was an opportunity that came up. I read that script and I had read the book before, but I thought I would not get the part because I was considerably younger than the way the character was written in the book, as well in the script. It was just one of those things where a great leap of faith on Ben [Affleck’s] part to cast me in that role. That was the beginning of my working relationship with Ben, and a tremendous experience, a really interesting character in a fabulous film. And a wonderful experience working with Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and everybody, Casey [Affleck] and Amy Madigan. Stop me if I name the entire cast.”
– By Fred Topel
Follow Us On: